American-bodied Isotta Fraschini

1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Roadster by Fleetwood

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 24-25, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Isotta Fraschini dates to 1900, when it was founded by Cesare Isotta and the three Fraschini brothers: Vincenzo, Antonio, and Oreste. Cars were available from the outset, with production wrapping up about the time WWII came around (though five units were produced after the war).

The legendary and most well-regarded models in the company’s history were from the Tipo 8 line. The Tipo 8A was the second-generation model, available from 1924 through 1931. It’s powered by a 7.4-liter straight-eight and horsepower depended on which car you bought. This is a “Sport” model, so it rides on a shortened wheelbase.

NYC-based Fleetwood bodied two similar Tipo 8As in period. This one was custom built for legendary silent film star Rudolph Valentino but, unfortunately, he died before the car was delivered. The current owners bought the car in 2001 and had RM do a thorough, award-winning restoration, as the car has been shown successfully on multiple occasions since. It’ll be a big dollar car when it crosses the block in Monterey. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.

Mercury Speedster

1927 Mercury Speedster

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Uncasville, Connecticut | June 20-23, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Kit cars took off after WWII. When fiberglass arrived, the boom really started. The idea was simple. Step 1: buy a cheap, common car. Step 2: buy a body from a different manufacturer. Step 3: combine the best of both cars to create a new vehicle, usually called whatever the body manufacturer has decided it should be called.

And that’s pretty much what we have here, except this occurred after WWI. And what was the easiest common car to get a hold of at that time? Well, a Model T of course. The Mercury Speedster was a racy body produced by the Louisville, Kentucky-based Mercury Body Corporation between 1920 and 1926 (they also built some for Chevrolet chassis).

The sold about 1,600 of these and less than 100 are known to still exist. This one is presumably based on a ’27 T, meaning it’s powered by a 20 horsepower, 2.9-liter straight-four. Note, this “Mercury” is not in any way associated with any of the other Mercury factory-built cars (especially the ones actually built by Ford beginning in 1939).

It’s an interesting car with an interesting history and it will sell at No Reserve at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast sale in a few weeks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $24,200.

Amilcar CGSS

1927 Amilcar CGSS Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | March 18, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Amilcar was a French automobile brand that built cars between 1921 and 1939. They were good – as you can see – at building sporty little roadsters. Toward the end of their existence, they also offered a forward-thinking model aimed for more mass-market consumption. But financial difficulties and the war prevented it from being a success.

Ah, but the CGS Type S (or CGSS). It’s a fantastic example of pre-war French sportiness. It may not have the desirability or pedigree of a Bugatti, but these are awfully sharp looking cars, aren’t they? The CGS was introduced in 1923 and the CGSS, which was lower and more powerful, was produced between 1926 and 1929. It’s powered by a 40 horsepower 1.1-liter straight-four.

This car came to the U.S. in the 1990s and was professionally restored between 2002 and 2005. It returned to Europe in 2012 and hasn’t been used much since. The color scheme here is fantastic and the car looks great. Only about 4,700 examples of the CGS and CGSS were built. This one should sell for between $55,000-$82,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ Goodwood lineup.

Update: Sold $95,756.

Voisin Lumineuse

1927 Voisin C11 Berline Lumineuse

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Gabriel Voisin’s cars are usually a little on the wild side, this one being no exception. Dubbed “Lumineuse,” or light, you can see from just the lone picture above how strange this car appears. The greenhouse bows inward as it rises and the use of glass on this car is one of the most original I’ve ever seen. The front windscreen folds outward, the windows retract inside the car (but not inside the door). It makes it look like the top just lifts right off (but it doesn’t).

The engine is a 2.3-liter Knight sleeve-valve straight-six. The interior is, of course, some strange pattern that suits the car perfectly. The exterior is done in an almost-military-brown and it’s quite understated as well. The wheels sit at the four corners of this car, with practically no overhang from the body, which is all aluminium, making it very light. And I love the weird forward-facing spotlight hanging off the rear of the car.

It sounds as if there has been ongoing work on this car since 1973. It certainly isn’t fresh but it does look quite nice and is evidently quite usable. The C11 was the most-produced Voisin product but only three Lumineuse-bodied examples are known to exist. It’s quite creative and very cool. It should bring between $305,000-$425,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $365,050.

Four Cars from Rétromobile

Four Cars from Rétromobile

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018


1947 Dolo Type JB10

Photo – Artcurial

There were a lot of car companies that popped up after World War Two showing prototypes at auto shows and then promptly disappearing. Dolo was one such marque. Usually these cars exist only in grainy scans of old sales literature developed when the company’s founders thought they had a chance to make it big.

The JB10 was shown by Brun, Dolo & Galtier at the 1947 Paris Auto Salon. It was a front-wheel drive car powered by a 592cc flat engine making 23 horsepower. I don’t believe the engine is still with this car, however. The roof was a Plexiglas dome, which is kind of weird. The company went around taking orders (and payments) but never honored them. The company did build a second car but its whereabouts are unknown.

This car was discovered in storage at the Montlhéry circuit and entered the collection it is being offered from in 1967. It’s all-original and was originally blue. As a one-off it should bring between $7,500-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $33,585.


1931 Salomon Prototype

Photo – Artcurial

Jean-Marie-Jules Salomon co-founded Le Zebre early in his career. He later worked for Citroen and then Peugeot. From 1928 through 1939 he worked at Rosengart. While at Rosengart (which did pretty well building light cars themselves), Salomon designed and built his own cyclecar prototype.

This light, two-seat roadster features a tubular axle and front brakes. The body is aluminium, which wasn’t all that common in 1931. It’s powered by a two-stroke single-cylinder engine. It’s in pretty original condition and would require a full restoration (it’s missing things like gauges, the entire floor, you know… some basics). But still, it’s a unique car from the 1930s and it can be yours for between $12,000-$18,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $7,301.


1927 Taupin 1100 Prototype

Photo – Artcurial

Here’s yet another one-off prototype car from this same collection. Not much is known about this history of this car, other than it seems to be assembled and custom made. The radiator is from a Darmont. The engine is a SCAP unit of 1.1-liters.

It was built by an actual engineer, so there was some thought put into it. The wheels have independent suspension, so it sits very low. It’s almost like the grandfather of the Ariel Atom… if an Atom only had three wheels. Customized by the owner to add such creature comforts as a cushion to sit on, this thing is largely original and just might be in running condition. It should cost the next owner between $6,000-$9,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $23,363.


1948 De Coucy Prototype Record

Photo – Artcurial

What we have here was someone’s – a Count de Coucy, to be more specific – idea of a land speed record car. A trained engineer, de Coucy built some high-revving engines of his own design – we’re talking engines that revved to 10,000 rpm in the 1930s. In 1935, he designed a 500cc engine capable of that 10,000 rpm.

Unfortunately, he was arrested by the Germans during WWII as a part of the Resistance and then his workshop was bombed in 1943. In 1948 he took the chassis from a Formula One car he was working on and built a single-seater enclosed record car. The 500cc engine never made it in, but it now carries a 1.1-liter straight-four instead (which is not completely installed). The car was never run and is being sold in hopes that someone will pick up the cause. It should bring between $6,000-$9,500. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $55,488.

Tracta Gephi

1927 Tracta Type A Gephi

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | June 18, 2017

Photo – Osenat

It’s interesting when there is a car in an auction catalog with a low estimate of over half a million dollars and it’s online lot list entry consists of a single sentence. Luckily, you can download Osenat’s full catalogs as PDFs and, though they’re in French, it’s possible to glean enough info to know that this is a truly special car.

Automobiles Tracta operated between 1926 and 1934. They specialized in front-wheel drive cars, and this low-slung race car exhibits founder’s Jean-Albert Grégoire’s expertise in that field. The FWD layout offers the ability to mount everything very low, making it look (and operate) a lot faster than most of its competition.

The first example was built in 1926, prior to the company even being founded. A second example was built for the 1927 24 Hours of Le Mans, of which the catalog describes in detail. It’s a pretty wild story involving Mr. Grégoire driving the race in bandages the day after suffering a terrible accident. At one point, it seems, he had to pull over and exit the car in pain. Le Mans did their best to outlaw “napping under a tree mid-race” for 1928. It’s very unclear if this car was entered in the 1927 race, but it was for sure in 1928.

It’s race history includes:

  • 1928 24 Hours of Le Mans – 16th (with Roger Bourcier and Hector Vasena)
  • 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans – 15th, DNF (with Lucien Lemesle and Maurice Benoist)

The engine is a 1.0-liter straight-four, probably supercharged. The owner of this car heard it drive past his house in the 1950s and chased it down. Years later, in 1958, he was finally able to acquire it, barely beating out an Italian who was also on the hunt for this very car. It’s been the pride of his collection for 59 years. It’s a wonderfully interesting automobile – one of the sportiest French cars of the 1920s – and it has Le Mans history. It is expected to sell for between $560,000-$790,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $786,394.

Four Fire Trucks from France

Four Fire Trucks in France

Offered by Osenat | Puiseux-Pontoise, France | May 14, 2017


1942 American LaFrance V-12 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

American LaFrance is one of the biggest names in fire trucks. Tracing their roots to 1832, the company built their first motorized vehicle in 1907. In 1995 they were bought by Freightliner, part of Daimler, who dumped them on an investment firm in 2005. They went through bankruptcy in 2008 and closed up shop in 2014.

People love fire trucks, and this wartime example is powered by a big Lycoming V-12 engine, something they only did for a brief period of time. This particular model (whose name I cannot find) was only produced in 1942. These are all coming out of a museum and this one should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $9,329.


1951 Laffly BSS163 Fire Van

Photo – Osenat

Laffly, which sounds like a comedy club, was actually a French manufacturer of commercial vehicles that was founded back in 1849. Their first automobiles were produced in 1912 and they went out of business in the 1950s.

Their specialty were military vehicles and fire trucks. The BSS163 was the “Standardized Fire Van” and it went into production in 1946. It’s a large van and it’s powered by an 80 horsepower straight-six from Delahaye. This particular van was restored by the owner of this collection. There are two other Laffly fire vans at this sale, but this is the nicest. It should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1952 Seagrave V-12 Roadster

Photo – Osenat

A couple of things… first, there is no model year listed for this truck. A quick search online revealed (as you can probably surmise by just looking at it) that this Seagrave fire truck is from the early 1950s, thus why I’ve called it a 1952. I also don’t have a model name, but it is V-12 powered and it does sport Roadster body work.

Like American LaFrance, Seagrave is among the biggest names in American fire trucks. Founded in 1881, the company built their first motorized fire truck in 1907. They were acquired by FWD in 1963 and have been based in Wisconsin since. This is a spectacular design and it can be yours for between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1927 Delahaye Type 83 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

The last fire truck we’ll feature today is from Delahaye, builder of some of France’s most beautiful cars. In fact, Delahaye built a lot of commercial vehicles over the years, including many fire trucks. They are quite rare today because, like Pierce-Arrow and Packard in the U.S., people acquired the commercial vehicles and stripped the bodies off of them and applied sexy passenger car bodies instead.

This fire truck has had a complete restoration and looks very nice. It has one large improvement over the previous generation of heavy trucks: inflatable tires. If you were to drive this back-to-back with a truck on solid rubber tires you’d notice a world of difference. This one should bring between $16,500-$22,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Duesenberg Model Y

1927 Duesenberg Model Y Phaeton Prototype by McFarlan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6-7, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Never heard of the Duesenberg Model Y? Well it’s a very important car – and as we here are Duesenberg fanatics, it is a brilliantly exciting one as well. The Model Y was the prototype for the legendary Model J. Two were produced and only this one survives (the other one was actually sold to Frank Morgan of The Wizard of Oz and subsequently lost to time).

This prototype originally used a 6.8-liter straight-eight engine that reportedly put out about 200 horsepower. This engine was based on the Model A’s 88 horsepower, 4.2-liter straight-eight (which this car is now powered by). This car was given to August Duesenberg and he was told he had to destroy the chassis. So he put the engine in a race car and put the body (which was styled and built by McFarlan, the automobile company that shut down around the time this car was built) on a Model A chassis and sold it to a local businessman.

This amazing car has been in the ownership of the same family since 1957. It was last restored prior to their purchase and has been on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum for a long time. This is the first time it has been offered for sale in six decades. It’s a milestone automobile and the price it brings will be very interesting. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $340,000.

Five Cars from the 1920s

1927 Whippet Model 96 Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

General Motors wasn’t the only American automaker expanding its brands in the 1920s. Willys-Overland was one of a number of other companies to get in on the game. Whippet was a marque introduced for the 1926 model year. It didn’t last long – it was gone after 1930 – but it did have an impact: boosting Willys into third place in the U.S.

The Model 96 was the smaller option in the Whippet line and was produced in every model year. It is powered by a 30 horsepower 2.2-liter straight-four. This car looks great. It was formerly part of the AACA Museum and has been used in Boardwalk Empire – which is something we’ve talked about in other posts. Interesting. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $23,100.


1929 Roosevelt Eight Sedan by Hayes

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Roosevelt is a very rare American automobile make. It was built by Marmon and introduced in 1929 – great timing. It was a smaller version of the larger Marmons and was the first American car with a straight-eight engine to be offered for sale for less than $1,000. The engine is actually a 3.3-liter straight-eight, making 77 horsepower.

The Eight (Roosevelt’s only model) was offered in four body styles with the Sedan being the cheapest and least fanciful. Named for Teddy Roosevelt, this rare survivor would be an awesome addition to a collection. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $10,450.


1924 Oldsmobile Model 30-B Turtle Deck Speedster by Schutte

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The 1924 Oldsmobile line consisted of a single model offered in a range of factory body styles and apparently coachbuilt ones as well. The engine is a 2.8-liter straight-six making 42 horsepower.

The story here is this awesome bod. The aluminium radiator looks like it was milled out of a solid block of metal. The solid metal wheels are amazing. The car only has a single door – on the passenger side of the car. It is full of special one-off features with an unusual body style from a smaller coachbuilder. It is thought that less than 10 Schutte-bodied cars exist and we’ve now featured two of them. Check out more on RM’s site.

Update: Sold $71,500.


1923 Wills Sainte Claire B-68 Gray Goose Special

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Like Roosevelt, Wills Sainte Claire was another short-lived American automobile manufacturer of respectable quality. This car, which is all-original, is a 68-series car. The variations of the Model 68 were built from 1922 through 1926. 1927 was the only year it wasn’t built.

It was Wills Sainte Claire’s largest model, using a 4.4-liter V-8 making 67 horsepower. In 1924, the Model 68 was offered in a bunch of body styles with the most interesting being the Gray Goose Special seen here (which is essentially a four-door touring car). This one has known ownership history from new and has only been owned by two different families in that time. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $57,200.


1920 Rauch & Lang Electric Model C-45 Dual Drive Coach

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Rauch & Lang traces its history back to Jacob Rauch, a blacksmith in Cleveland who opened his shop in 1853. Charles Lang was a real estate man from nearby and moved the company toward wagon building. In 1905, they turned to electric cars and became one of America’s premier electric car builders in the early days of automobiles.

They built cars through 1928 and this 1920 Model C-45 is how most of them looked. The company moved from Cleveland to Massachusetts in 1920 (after having merged with Baker Electric in 1917) and this car was the final example produced in Cleveland. It uses a three horsepower electric motor. This car can be driven from the left hand seat either in the front or rear, which is pretty interesting. Try that in your Buick. Click here to see more about this car.

Update: Sold $66,000.

Five Pre-War Cars from Bonhams’ Beaulieu Sale

Five Pre-War Cars from Bonhams’ Beaulieu Sale

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 5, 2015


1909 Belsize 14/16HP Roi-des-Belges Tourer

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Belsize was an English manufacturer that was around from 1902 through 1925. They were known for their small cars – some used two or three cylinder engines. This car is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 14/16 horsepower. The model was produced from 1909 through 1913.

This is the oldest known four-cylinder Belsize (of 12 that still exist). This car has known ownership history from new and has been restored twice over its life, with the most recent restoration having been carried out nearly 30 years ago. It’s entirely roadworthy and would be a great tourer. It should sell for between $70,000-$86,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $55,402.


1926 Clyno 10.8HP Royal Tourer

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Clyno was quite the large operation in England between 1909 and 1929. At one point there were the third-largest motor manufacturer in the U.K. They built motorcycles and nearly 40,000 cars during their existence. Yet, few remain today.

This car is powered by a 1.4-liter straight-four making 10 horsepower. It was produced between 1922 and 1928 and was far and away Clyno’s biggest seller, with approximately 35,000 built. Clyno got too big too quickly and their reliability suffered. When the Depression set in, bankruptcy came. This example was restored in 2012 and should bring between $19,000-$23,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $19,261.


1902 Flint Roadster

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Flint Roadster (yes, that was the name of the marque) was built by A.B.C. Hardy and his Flint Automobile Company between 1902 and 1904 in Flint, Michigan (if that wasn’t obvious). Only one model was available and it cost $850 when new.

The engine is an eight horsepower single-cylinder displacing 2.3-liters. Hardy didn’t play by the rules of the day and faced numerous lawsuits that effectively shut his business down. Only 52 Flint Roadsters were ever built. It is unknown how many remain but this car is entirely original (although the tires look to have been replaced). It spent much of its life in storage and would need a thorough mechanical overhaul to become roadworthy. It should sell for between $34,000-$39,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $40,273.


1910 Star 15HP Tourer

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Star Motor Company of Wolverhampton should not be confused with the entirely separate make that operated in the U.S. under the Durant Motors corporate umbrella. The English Star was active from 1898 through 1932. At one point Star was one of England’s largest automobile companies, peaking prior to WWI.

The 15HP model was built between 1909 and 1913 and was offered with a range of four-cylinder engines. This one was restored in the 1980s and is a driver. It should bring between $55,000-$63,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $42,024.


1927 Voisin C12 Tourer by R. Duvivier

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Voisin automobiles are fascinating. Gabriel Voisin is widely recognized as an engineering genius and his cars reflect that. Many of them feature Knight sleeve-valve engines, unique (and sometimes outrageous) coachwork and Jazz Age interiors.

The C12 was built between 1926 and 1933 and uses a 4.5-liter straight-six. Only 60 C12s were built and only three are known to survive. This is the only one that has a body on it (the other two are bare chassis). The body is by R. Duvivier of Levallois-Peret and has been meticulously restored (in 2004). It has covered nearly 2,000 miles since – meaning it’s ready for you to enjoy on the open road. It should cost its new owner between $310,000-$390,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ Beaulieu sale lineup.

Update: Sold $334,825.